Home Malware & Threats US House Passes Legislation Restricting Data Sales to Foreign Adversaries

US House Passes Legislation Restricting Data Sales to Foreign Adversaries

US House Passes Legislation Restricting Data Sales to Foreign Adversaries

The unanimous vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass legislation restricting domestic data brokers from selling Americans’ sensitive personal data to foreign adversaries marks a significant step in enhancing data protections and safeguarding the nation from potential threats. The Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act, which was introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers and received unanimous approval from the Energy and Commerce Committee, empowers the Federal Communications Commission to impose civil penalties on U.S. data brokers that engage in such activities.

According to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the legislation aims to prevent foreign adversaries, particularly those from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, from acquiring sensitive personal information of Americans from data brokers. The bill outlines a comprehensive list of what constitutes sensitive data, including financial account numbers, government-issued identifiers, biometric and genetic information, geolocational data, and health information, among other personal details.

In a joint statement with bill sponsor Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., Rep. McMorris Rodgers emphasized the importance of protecting American national security and individual privacy by restricting the sale of sensitive personal data to foreign entities. The passage of this legislation comes on the heels of President Joe Biden’s executive order directing the Department of Justice to initiate a rule-making process to prohibit unrestricted transfers of bulk sensitive personal data to countries of concern, with a specific focus on China.

The move to curb data sales to foreign adversaries is part of a broader shift in U.S. policy towards prioritizing security and digital rights in the face of increasing threats to data privacy. Reports have highlighted China’s efforts to obtain data on Americans through various means, including hacking and commercial transactions. The executive order and related legislation are seen as crucial steps in mitigating these risks and protecting sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.

The House’s approval of legislation targeting Chinese-owned social media app TikTok further underscores the government’s commitment to addressing data privacy concerns and potential national security risks associated with foreign-owned platforms. Reps. Rodgers and Pallone view the data privacy legislation as a complement to broader national data privacy initiatives that are currently under consideration in Congress.

Overall, the unanimous support for the Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act reflects a bipartisan commitment to strengthening data protections and safeguarding national security interests in an increasingly digitized world. With the threat of foreign adversaries acquiring sensitive personal data on the rise, legislative efforts to restrict such activities play a crucial role in ensuring the privacy and security of American citizens.

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